PUTIN: Obama Would Save Me If I Were Drowning

Vladimir PutinReutersRussia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin swims in a lake in southern Siberia’s Tuva region August 3, 2009. Putin, a judo black belt who has flown in a fighter aircraft and shot a Siberian tiger in the wild, plunged into the depths of Lake Baikal aboard a mini-submersible on Saturday in a mission that added a new dimension to his macho image. Picture taken August 3, 2009. REUTERS/RIA Novosti/Pool/Alexei Druzhinin

Russian President Vladimir Putin believes his U.S. counterpart, President Barack Obama, would save him if he were drowning.

Putin received the strange question during an annual televised call-in with the nation on Thursday. To laughter, he responded that though he doesn’t have much of a personal relationship with Obama, he believes Obama would save him.

“I don’t want to be drowning!” Putin said, according to a translation by Russia Today. “… I don’t think I have a close personal relationship with Obama. I think Obama is courageous and a good person, and for sure he would save me.”

The personal relationship between Putin and Obama has deteriorated over Obama’s second term in office. Conflicting positions various issues — from the Syrian civil war, to the asylum of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, to the current situation in Ukraine — have strained relations between the U.S. and Russia.

Putin fielded a wide range of questions from Russians during the call-in on Thursday. He answered many on the Ukrainian crisis, but he also was asked his favourite film (“Chapayev“) and when Russia would have a new First Lady. (He said he must first help his ex-wife find a new husband.)

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